Ms. Long Time No Blog,
Inevitably, whenever I lost in a tennis tournament, during the long and often uncomfortable car ride home, I would tell my father all of the things I was going to do to improve my game—I was going to practice my second serve more so that I could eliminate all of my double faults; I was going to skip more and do more sprinting so that I would become quicker on the court; and I was going to think more during points, try to move my opponent around and play smarter instead of simply trying to hit the ball as hard as I could.
My father’s answer was as simple as the trademark of the company that had coined the phrase: “Just do it.”
Looking back now, I wonder how different things would have ended up if instead of spending so much energy planning how I was going to do something—coming up with lists of goals and milestones, creating weekly workout routines—I just did it. Maybe that’s the missing gear, one of the things that separates champions from people who dream of someday becoming one.
In the same way that Nike had a profound effect, more judgmental than inspirational, another phrase from a much less successful company has come to dominate my current life: No Fear. Maybe the brand didn’t and isn’t doing as well because they did not manage to separate the name of the company from its trademarked phrase (though I have not searched the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to confirm they have that trademark, but I have to assume they do), but that is a somewhat silly tangent meant to make you read more words than are actually necessary for me to share my thoughts (a trademark of my own writing, if ever there was one, though in the non-filed loose sense as opposed to the one with legal weight and force).
Why, you may ask, does No Fear resonate with me? Why have I come to have that particular phrase come to represent my current state of being? I’d like to say through no fault of my own, I mean, I did buy a copy of Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Unfortunately, the reality is, and maybe my current profession is the perfect reflection of that—I’m risk averse. Now, you might say that being risk averse is not such a bad thing, you’re just careful and cautious. That may be the case for others I may know or went to school with, but unfortunately for me, in my case, it is just plain old fear. And it isn’t just with respect to the big life-changing decisions, because that kind of stuff scares everyone, but it’s often with even small things like, “Is that police officer going to give me a ticket for jay-walking?” or “I don’t really need to bother this cashier who mistakenly charged me an extra $1.00 because sale on the chocolate bar did not come up and I don’t want her to get annoyed with me” or, and possibly worst of all, “Wow, I really want to tell this guy who is playing me in the quarterfinals of this PRELIMINARY PRO TOUR QUALIFIER for Magic the Gathering that he played an extra land, but then I have to call a judge and this could get tense really fast.”
Well, then, dear estranged blogging friend—today, OK, maybe Monday, because you know I like to do things starting on Mondays, I vow to try to take control of my life. No more fear. I’m going to be a little more like Jen Sincero says, not quite a badass and certainly not bad or an ass, but maybe something closer to who I want to be. That’s what I’m going to do. Maybe you can be a check-and-balance to help me do that.
Unfortunately, it seems like what you should really be saying is what my father would be saying if her heard or read this rant: “Just do it.”
PS: I would like to think that this is the start of a deluge of blog posts, but let’s be honest here, I’ve never been very good at being consistent at this.